A bill requiring the California Department of Education to report on the use of existing lockdown drills in K-12 public schools was signed into law Sunday by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The signing of SB 541, co-written by state senators Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), is a “step in the right direction to ensure that all students, teachers and staff are prepared for other dangers besides fires,” according to a joint-release from the bill’s authors.
“School shootings have become an all-too-frequent occurrence in California. It is unacceptable that simply going to school can feel dangerous for many students,” said Portantino.
“As a father, I cannot sit idly by while our children witness regular violence at school. I believe that this bill has the potential to save lives,” he said.
California’s Education Code currently requires elementary schools to conduct fire drills regularly. Intermediate-level and secondary schools must conduct such drills at least twice a year. However, existing law does not require training for any other types of threats although some school districts have taken it upon themselves to conduct additional drills.
“Even with the best of efforts and systems in place, we must always be prepared for the worst possibility,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, one of the bill’s supporters.
“Preparation means practice. Students, faculty and parents must know what to do and what is expected in the event an active shooter,” he said.
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